Corporate Social Responsibility Ranks High Among Consumers in Asia-Pacific

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Consumers in Asia-Pacific are the most socially conscious shoppers in the world, according to a new Nielsen report.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries around the world in February and March this year in order to understand which consumers are the most supportive of socially responsible actions, which social issues are concerning these consumers the most and how sustainable practices influence consumers regarding purchasing decisions.

The survey found that 64 percent of online consumers in Asia-Pacific were willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. This percentage is higher than that of Latin America (63 percent), the Middle East/Africa (63 percent), North America (42 percent), Europe (40 percent) and the global average of 55 percent.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines ranked highest with 79 percent, followed by Vietnam (73 percent), Thailand (71 percent), Indonesia (65 percent), Malaysia (57 percent) and Singapore (48 percent).

“We see the strongest propensity to buy socially and environmentally responsible brands from consumers in emerging markets such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand where consumers face extreme levels of poverty and frequent encounters with natural and environmental disasters,” said Stuart Jamieson,  Managing Director of Nielsen Philippines.

“Consumers in these markets are looking for brands which are committed to supporting local communities and improving the state of the environment. Brands should act fast to address this rising demand.”

“The value of social responsibility and giving back to society is an important part of the culture in many of these societies and this is having an influence on their purchasing decisions,” said Vishal Bali, Nielsen’s managing director of consumer insights in Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific.

RELATED: Asia’s Youth Lead Socially Responsible Consumer Trends

52 percent of global respondents say they have purchased at least one product or service in the past six months from a socially responsible company, compared with 76 percent in the Philippines, 68 percent in Vietnam, 66 percent in Thailand, 61 percent in Indonesia, 49 percent in Malaysia, 48 percent in Singapore and 59 percent in Asia-Pacific overall.

Filipino consumers also came top regarding the likelihood of checking product packaging before purchase in order to ensure that the supplier meets or exceeds social and environmental standards, with a rate of 82 percent compared to a global average of 52 percent.

“Consumers are highly influenced and informed by packaging when it comes to recognizing socially and environmentally conscious brands. To help consumers in their purchasing decisions, brand owners need to clearly state their position on and commitment to such causes,” said Jamieson.

The percentage of respondents willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact has increased by 10 percent globally and 9 percent in the Asia-Pacific since 2011.

“Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions,” said Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability for Nielsen.

“It’s no longer a question if consumers care about social impact. Consumers do care and show they do through their actions. Now the focus is on determining how your brand can effectively create shared value by marrying the appropriate social cause and consumer segments.”

Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email asia@dezshira.com or visit www.dezshira.com.

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